And going into the house [the wise men] saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.
I love reading. And some of my favorite books are stories in which everything is going along normally when all of a sudden, there’s a twist. If you’d been living at the time of Jesus and heard the story of the gifts that were brought by the magi, you would’ve heard about a shocking twist.
You see, the gold symbolized His royalty; the frankincense, His deity. But the myrrh was an incredibly unusual gift— myrrh was a substance used to embalm the dead. Why would you bring that as a gift for a baby?
Well, looking back 2,000 years later, we know why. That tiny baby, worshipped by the magi, came here to die on the cross for the sins of the world, His body anointed with spices and myrrh before it was buried. Now I’m certain the magi couldn’t have understood this. But just as God led them into the presence of the King, I believe He superintended the giving of these gifts—the myrrh foreshadowing His death.
Many people love the image of the baby Jesus, just as they love Christmas. But they don’t like to focus on His death on a cross. If we want to find truth, though, we have to accept the whole truth, even when we don’t like to hear it. And for these wise men, the whole truth was lying in that manger—this God-King who would die so that we might be born again.
(To obtain a free copy of “The Cost of Christmas,” a 25-day advent devotional go to jackgraham.org, call 800-414-7693, or request it online at firstname.lastname@example.org.)